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Defensive Specialist has one speed: All Out

Lady Lions loading up as they join new league

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In a pride of lions, there is strength in numbers.

At Southwestern Assemblies of God University, where the women’s volleyball team has finished the regular season with a winning record for eight consecutive years, Head Coach Hank Moore seeks to reload rather than rebuild his team.

The Lady Lions added their fifth recruit for the 2013-14 campaign when Courtney Tobolka penned her name on a binding National Letter of Intent.

Along with her longtime friend and teammate at nearby Midlothian High School, Faith Hardin, Tobolka also suited up for Coach Moore’s Ellis County Juniors club team the past two years.

“They will both be impact student-athletes here at SAGU,” Moore pointed out.

Unlike the other four newcomers, who all play on the frontline, Tobolka is a 5’7 defensive specialist. She was named to the All-District Second Team.

The Panthers are in the University Scholastic League (UIL) largest classification, Texas’ Class 5A.

According to Moore, Tobolka’s renowned for her "all-out" effort on the court.

“She never gives up on any point,” he said recently. “She gives everything she has on every play. In every practice it’s all that she does.”

Courtney is an example of Colossians 3:23, says Moore. “Whatever you do be it in word or deed, do it with all your might as unto the Lord.”

She also ranked in the top 10% in her senior class and was named to the district’s All-Academic team.

Courtney, who is one of three triplet girls, also has a brother who plans to attend SAGU in the fall.

The Lady Lions begin their fall camp in August and will play in a new league as well. SAGU moves from the Red River Athletic Conference to the Sooner Athletic Conference, which is considered to be the NAIA’s premier union.

The University of Texas at Brownsville (30-2), with an enrollment of 14,000, finished the year ranked No. 3 in the nation. The Scorpions were the only RRAC team that was ranked in the NAIA’s Top 37 teams who received votes in the post-season Coaches Poll.

Oklahoma Baptist University (35-6), from the SAC, ended the year rated No. 6 after the national tournament ended with Concordia University (Cal) (38-0) won their first-ever national championship.

The only other team in the Sooner to receive votes was Wayland Baptist University (19-15) at No. 36.

The Lady Lions hope to be a serious contender in the Sooner this year. The Lady Lions' .207 hitting percentage ranked 65th among the 221 teams in the NAIA.

They return all but one player from the 2012 team.

Among them is Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian), a junior outside hitter who ranked No. 9 in the nation by averaging 4.2 kills per set.

Senior Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep), the RRAC’s Setter of the Year, will anchor the attack. Her 10.2 assists per game rated No. 23 in the NAIA.

Coming next will be the release of the 2013 season schedule, which will also be posted on the SAGU athletics website.

SAGU will have a select number of their home matches broadcast on-line by SAGU Sports Live. The HD livestream schedule will be announced later in the summer.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.

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